The Patapsco River and river valley are the defining geographic features of the region, running through Central Maryland to the Chesapeake Bay. To explore the area, head to Patapsco Valley State Park, an enormous protected area – one of the oldest in the state – that runs for 32 miles along a whopping 170 miles of trails. The park has eight recreation areas. The Hollofield area has a fun playground for kids and a viewpoint overlooking the valley.
The main visitor center provides insight into the settled history of the area, from Native Americans to the present, and is housed in a 19th-century stone cottage that looks as though it were plucked from a CS Lewis bedtime story.
Maryland residents get discounted entry to the park; fees are per vehicle daily in winter (November through March).